“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves” – Edna Buchanon
Friends are an incredibly important part of our lives. Our friends and friendships define us. And that’s why a good friendship is indeed something to savor and protect. Yet, like any human relationship, even the closest of friendships can unravel in moments of weakness. How can you avoid a falling out with someone you’ve long trusted and cared about? Here are a few tips:
Choose your friends wisely
Remember that you do not have to be everyone’s friend. Choose to be friends with people who build you up, not tear you down, who welcome you and not alienate and insult you.
Be an attentive listener to what the other person is saying. Let that person know that you not only hear them but understand as well.
As the wise say, think before you speak – especially when you are angry. Sometimes, taking a moment to think about what you say before you start blurting things out will spare hurt feelings and bruised pride.
Avoid consistent advice or trying to fix all of your friend’s problems
When a friend asks for your advice, give it. However, don’t wiggle your way into every aspect of your friend’s life, telling them how to be the star of their own show. Give them their deserved space.
Be the kind of friend you want others to be for you
You want friends who are honest, kind, compassionate, fair, not judgmental, authentic, and intelligent. Be that person first and you’ll be more likely to attract that kind of friend into your life.
Apologize when needed
When you do something wrong, admit it. Learn to apologize. Sometimes a friend is upset, and all they want from you is to (genuinely) say “sorry.”
Keep your promises
If you know you can’t deliver something, don’t promise that you will. If you make a promise, do your best to keep it.
Celebrate what you have in common
Most friendships are started because of some common thread – a favourite sport, a love of books, an appreciation of fine dining, an insufferable boss, etc. Cherish your common interests together and your bond will grow stronger.
Try new things together
What new experiences can you share with your friend? It could be as simple as checking out the new local coffee shop, or as adventurous as bungee jumping.
Keep personal information confidential
When a friend tells you a secret it is because they trust you and believe that you will keep what they told you in the strictest of confidence. Do not betray your friend by sharing their secrets with others. Many times relationships are ruined over spilled secrets.
More importantly, be authentic, be yourself and be honest. Avoid putting up a fake personality. We all test our relationships by throwing something out there about our true nature. We then hide behind a corner, head peeking out, waiting for the response. If someone can’t accept you for who you are, developing a relationship with them will be hard. Don’t change yourself by denying your beliefs, values, and point of view, for the sake of fitting in. You won’t be doing anyone any favors.